||[Mar. 3rd, 2011|12:31 am]
You're organising a large event, for which purpose you wish to have a contract with the hotel. You have three or four meetings with the hotel over the course of a few months, and they then send you a copy of the proposed contract.|
The contract bears very little relationship to the discussions you've had with them. The few things that are specified are specified incorrectly, and there are many things that ought to be specified which are not mentioned at all.
Your default assumption is...
They're trying to screw you
The number of iterations before there's a contract you can sign might typically be...
I've known events where the contract is still not ready by the time the event arrives
We're about fourteen months out at this stage.
I'm thinking that their first contract regardless of any discussions you've had with them is likely to be their standard contract, virtually no changes. The second one incorporates the things that you've asked for that they're willing to do without even thinking. After you get that one, you sit down and write out each point that you need inserted/removed into/from the contract, handwriting those changes on the second copy of the contract as they agree to them. Once all the changes are noted by hand, you get them to initial that copy of the contract, noting that the changes have been agreed to and will be included in the final copy of the contract. You then have them make a copy. You take the original, they take the copy. Next meeting, you bring your original initialed working copy of the contract and compare it line by line to whatever new contract they bring. If it's not perfect, you either get them to change it right then and there, printing up a new contract to get it signed, or don't deal with them. Make clear at the second meeting that this is what you expect at the third meeting. If you can get this in less than three meetings, yay! It's certainly not the only way to do it, but it's one way.
This, pretty much. That's why getting them to send through a draft contract, even if totally wrong and months late, is so important -- you can redraft, send back, and start to negotiate properly.